Friday, September 29, 2017

Aviation regulator gets strict, flights not ready to take off on time may get delayed indefinitely

New Delhi:  Airlines not preparing their aircraft to take off on time now risk getting such flights delayed indefinitely. Directorate General of Civil Aviation has told airports that if a flight crew does not initiate push back to begin taxiing to the runway within five minutes of air traffic control allowing them to do so, such a flight should be allowed to take off only when some slot is free.
The idea is to push airlines to be more punctual by doing whatever is in their control. Issues like air traffic congestion, which cause most delays in choked airports like Delhi and Mumbai, are beyond the control of airlines and a result of crippling airport infra shortage.
"Aircraft shall contact ... for push back and start up at least 15 minutes prior to schedule time of departure. Approval for push back and start up shall be valid for five minutes only. Aircraft not adhering to pushback clearance will go back in the sequence. Subsequent clearance will be given based on available slot," an order issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief BS Bhullar on Wednesday said.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) has been asked to decide sequence of departures on the basis of the "position and readiness" of aircraft approaching the entry point of the runway. "Aircraft shall complete all pre-departure checks and cabin procedures prior to entering the runway and start rolling as soon take-off clearance is issued by ATC," Bhullar's order says.
Airline officials say while this order should serve as a wake up call for carriers with poor on time performance (OTP) practices, the punctual ones are suffering despite doing everything that the new DGCA order mandates.
"Mumbai has been choked for years with two cross runways and delays there — both for landing and then consequentially for operating the next flight out of there — are common. Delhi airport has also become congested despite three runways and hovering is an issue here too. The government must do something about augmenting infrastructure at choked cities.
28/09/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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